Celeste & Nicolai's Modern Art Loft

Celeste & Nicolai's Modern Art Loft

Bethany Nauert
Oct 17, 2011

Name: Celeste and Nicolai Iuul
Location: Marina Del Rey — Los Angeles, California
Size: 1700 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years in March — Own

Last month we saw a sneak peek of Celeste and Nicolai's loft, and I was immediately intrigued. The original artwork, photography, paint colors and amazing wallpaper all draw you in instantly as you walk in the door.

Celeste says that when designing a home it's all about "Layers! Sort of like a 4D movie." She is drawn to color and texture, while Nicolai veers toward a more modern simplistic approach. With their photography and art collection, visitors are immersed in a modern gallery of current artists — well curated into the loft space of a family of three.

Celeste and Nicolai designed and reinvented the open floor plan by building two enclosed bedrooms for the master and their son's room. Then they designed a raw beamed lofted open guest room. All the while strategically taking full advantage of the gorgeous natural light that pours in, "Light, light and more light. My husband is obsessed. "

I enjoyed seeing their playful approach to a kid friendly environment with all the soft textures and fun textiles. They even have a nice outdoor patio with a covered seating area to entertain during the warmer seasons. I love that they have created and maintained their love for urban style living in a beachside town.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Blending our design styles was probably one of the most difficult challenges of our relationship. Nicolai is all about big, modern spaces with a classic Scandinavian composition, whereas I prefer to be surrounded by color and a lot of texture - so in respecting each others desire to contribute, we based the foundation on Nicolai's vision and (as soon as he went out of town) I incorporated color and put a lot of focus into creating pockets of intimacy.

Inspiration: Growing up in Copenhagen, Nicolai has always been inspired by the high-quality craftsmanship at the heart of Danish design, and now as a filmmaker he has found his more rebellious side, picking up Buddhas in Burma and Banksys in London. For me, I am wholly inspired by the potential of a space. I will visualize a room a hundreds different ways, then based on either my mood, work-life, history or passion projects, I choose a concept that is going to most reflect back the way I want to feel when I spend time in the room. With this particular loft, my inspiration was truthfully my one-year old son, I tried to create spaces that were smart, yet playful, not intimidating and definitely not meant to be taken too seriously.

Favorite Element: We are both Scorpios, so our natural element is Water - moving here from London last year it was essential that we live near to the beach, and we are fortunate enough to have several fountains outside our bedroom window. From an interior perspective, our big dream was to feature an aquarium within the wall that divides the entryway and the kid's room, but that turned out to be slightly too high-maintenance for our current lifestyle, so we opted for another preferred element, and designed an asymmetric set of untreated white birch box shelves on the entryway side with a very generous wardrobe on the other.

We also used untreated wood for the stairs and in the building of the loft guest room, giving us a small sense of nature in the midst of a big city like Los Angeles.

Biggest Challenge: Working with such high ceilings, you have a massive canvas at your disposal, however agreeing on how to make use of it takes a certain coming together of the minds. We each were really passionate about what we wanted, so much so that we decided Nicolai would have the East wall and I would take the West wall, however we slowly realized that with these two walls essentially framing the inside of the house, we needed to find some synergy that would marry our two ideas.

What Friends Say: "How did you possibly imagine a space like this?" I take that as a compliment! After looking through many loft design books I began to realize what a difficult task it is to make them feel and look like a proper home while still honoring the openness of the space.

Biggest Embarrassment: Definitely our (temporary) Ikea pieces - but you need somewhere to put your books and I like to take my time in decorating, living in a space for a while until I discover a 'perfect fit', similar to pieces to a puzzle.

Proudest DIY: Unquestionably my proudest do-it-yourself project will always be my son's room. I have never worked so hard on anything in my life, and it is still a work in progress, as he gets older and I learn more about his personality, I continue to adapt it. The horse belongs to his grandmother and the artwork is all his own.

Biggest Indulgence: The floors. The quick and easy thing to do would have been to just call Lumber Liquidators, but I really felt that the flooring would, and could, be one of the most important design aspects of the house, so we decided to put down white oak, then stained and buffed, and stained and buffed, and stained and buffed, eventually attaining that 'lived-in' look, and it will no doubt continue to change as the sunlight comes in and the children play and families come and go.

Best Advice: Create a space you actually want to live in, envision a scenario where if you were confined to your house, what would you want to see there?

Dream Sources: My dream source would be an Etro for Roche Bobois sofa or rug (if it existed), and then if I could afford to buy it.

Resources of Note:


    •Behr Premium Plus Ultra - I like Behr because it is a fairly low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint.
    • Master Bath - Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Edgy Red
    • Guest Bath - Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Evening Hush
    • Master bedroom- Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Evening Hush


    • Modern Masters Metallic Silver for Front Door
    • Custom White Birch freeform box shelves by Matt Lieberman


    • Wallpaper is Matthew Williamson for Habitat (UK)
    • Swan + Egg chairs by Arne Jacobsen


    • Table - Outdoor dining table, Habitat (UK)
    • Art - Diver Lovers by Banksy


    •Custom painted mural by Matt Lieberman
    • DIY center island


    • Custom closets + shelves by Matt Lieberman


    • Custom stairway designed by Matt Lieberman
    • DIY Headboard by Celeste Iuul
    • Pillows from Miramax Films


    • Horse picture by Annie Iuul, was then made into a mural and mounted onto a painted wood frame
    • Bunk Beds - Ikea
    • Artwork - Jackson Iuul

Thanks, Celeste and Nicolai!

Images: Bethany Nauert

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt